Deacon Dr. Fresh Wine Newsletter

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Henry of Pelham reports earliest Icewine harvest in history!

Greetings All and Sundry:

It seems that despite the frickin early arrival of Jack "Sumbitch" Frost, there may be some good news on the horizon after all...

I just received a bulletin from my homey, the ultra-lurch Daniel Speck at Henry of Pelham Family Estate (which is why many non-lurch, ultra-jank, peckercrackerwood wannabee wine experts read the Deacon's gloriously fearless and inane ramblings regularly). Henry of Pelham is a rapidly rising star on the Deacon's event horizon.
Here's the skinny from Daniel:

"Dear Deacon –

Thought you should be among the first to know that we were out picking icewine in weather cold enough to freeze the balls off a bottle of Brass Monkey last night/this AM.

This is the earliest icewine harvest ever and it snuck up on us. At 4pm yesterday the family was planning to head out for a feast of Miushu Pork (sp?) and honey garlic ribs at St Catharines little known Chinese food Mecca, the appropriately named Dinh Dinh Restaurant and Market. All of a sudden my older Viticulturist brother Matt’s Blackberry started beeping. Our permanent weather station near Vineyard Block 112 reported a sudden temperature drop. It was going to hit at least -8 °C or colder and hold. He checked the grapes and things were keeping their freeze – hard as bullets. The mercury was dropping fast and we needed to mobilize a massive attack. By 5 pm our international crew of Polish, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese Canadian vineyard specialists were wrapped up in thermal protective gear, ski masks and insulated-rubberized gloves. Special all terrain vehicles equipped with elaborate spotlights to provide night vision were deployed into the field. At the winery specially designed basket-presses on cold-hardy castors were rolled outside under the newly built outdoor press-pad. Two teams were formed. Our Mennonite descended winemaker took the first shift and Burgundian Sandrine took second shift. Joe from China worked his last day playing the extreme sport of the Niagara Icewine harvest before catching the red-eye back to Beijing (and his families winery there).

By midnight the picking was done as a Chinook started to make its way in (still cold but it will be +14 °C by Monday). We pressed all night and watched a Halloween orange sun rise over the westward hump of the Shorthills Bench along the Niagara Escarpment. I didn’t get my Chinese food but I did get a Happy Ending."

Well Danno the Manno: In the immortal words of Yours Truly: Sod the Chinese food! The grapes are in and we're lookin' to some great things from this year's ice-wine industry; especially our friends at Henry of Pelham. As for the rest of you Niagara wineries: Get off your cracker butts and start pickin' some frozen grapes! I'll even help you...I'll drink and appraise the final product.

You heard me.

Deacon Dr. Fresh

Too Cool to Freeze


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